Coatesville senior quarterback Ricky Ortega announced his commitment to Villanova on Thursday.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder also had offers from William & Mary, Elon, Monmouth, Holy Cross, and others. His final three schools were Villanova, Monmouth, and Elon.
“With Villanova, I felt a little more at home and had a little bit more of a relationship with [Villanova coach Mark] Ferrante,” Ortega said. “I met him last year, he told me to come down in the summer, and he took us around the campus in a golf cart, took us into his office, and talked to us for an hour. He said they believed in me and thought I could change the program, and offered me a scholarship.”
Ortega’s coach and father, Matt, said the recruiting process was difficult for them because of the familiarity they developed with a handful of schools when his son was young. That history made choosing one school more of a challenge.
“It was different because the relationship he had with a lot of these coaches was longer than the normal range because he was a part of our program at a young age,” Matt Ortega said. “It was really tough to say no to some of those schools.”
A starter since his freshman year, Ricky Ortega has more than 7,000 passing yards and 100 passing touchdowns going into his senior season. He’s also got more than 30 rushing touchdowns and 2,000 rush yards.
The quarterback is in range of state records in career passing yards (10,948) and touchdown passes (137). Port Allegany’s Matt Bodamer set both records in 2012.
Ricky Ortega has led Coatesville to two straight PIAA District 1 Class 6A championships. Last season, the Red Raiders made it to the state semifinals before falling to District 3 champ Harrisburg, 27-24, to end the season 14-1.
A rematch is scheduled with Harrisburg for Week 1 of the upcoming season, and Ortega’s goal is to get revenge en route to a state title.
“It still haunts me today, that game. The good thing is our team is working really hard for a chance at redemption,” Ricky Ortega said. “We haven’t gotten over that hump. We’ve won two District 1 championships and three Ches-Mont championships. I want to win those two and also win states.”
Coatesville plans on utilizing a more pass-focused offense this season after losing Rutgers recruit and star running back Aaron Young. The change will require Ricky Ortega to continue developing his ability to read defenses and get the ball out quickly.
Both Ricky and Matt Ortega see this as the next necessary step for him to prepare for college football.